Montana Farmers Are Trying Cover Crops - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Montana Farmers Are Trying Cover Crops

Posted: Updated:
BOZEMAN -

During a tough season, farmers in the mid-west are known to sew certain types of plants that help repair the soil for better years to come.

The cover crop trend is beginning to take seed in the Big Sky state as well.

Farmers plant cover crops when they aren't growing a cash crop to help improve the soil in their fields by holding in more moisture than they use, ringing in bigger yields for crops that wouldn't otherwise get enough moister.

Some crops considered cover crops are peas, lentils and beats, where wheat, hay and potatoes would be a farmer's cash crop.

Farmers don't make any money on cash crops because they leave them in the fields when they go to plant crops they sell.

Right now the most common practice in Montana is summer fallow where fields are purposely kept out of production to build up moisture and nutrients.

Perry Miller is a cropping system specialist at Montana State University.

He is currently studying how cash crops will do in Gallatin County.

"The way we've been working with cover crops is trying to break up the summer fallow period and get some plant interaction with that soil," said Miller.

Miller said cover crops are not that common here in southwest Montana mostly because of our climate.

"There is a richer cover crop experience in the mid-western areas where they have excess water and where they have more reliable rainfall in season," said Miller.

Bruce Wright is one of very few farmers who plants cover crops in his fields north of Bozeman.

He started using peas as a cover crop after the Natural Resources Conservation Service suggested it to him.

He said his fields are starting to do better after trying cover crops for six years.

"It does seem to provide some benefit to the next crop," said Wright. "We are looking forward to doing it some more."

Miller said he's found results don't come over night, but more long term.

It looks like there is a real positive long term story. And it's not just from our work here, there is a couple other sites in this broader region that have shown the same thing. Stick with it over a longer period of time, it does work.

Wright agrees.  He said after planting cover crops in his fields for six years, he is getting four to five more bushels an acre compared to fields that don't get cover crops.

Miller said he has been studying with peas as cover crops in Bozeman for about ten years and this is his second year using a mix of crops.

  • Most Popular

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • PHOTOS: Hobo Spider season has arrived

    PHOTOS: Hobo Spider season has arrived

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:37 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:37:17 GMT
    KHQ.COM - Mid August is about the time that we start to see spiders come into our homes, particularly the hobo spider. August and September is mating season for the hobo and that means you may be seeing more funnel-like webs in and around your home. Males are on a mission to find a female which is why they are a lot more active at this time.
    KHQ.COM - Mid August is about the time that we start to see spiders come into our homes, particularly the hobo spider. August and September is mating season for the hobo and that means you may be seeing more funnel-like webs in and around your home. Males are on a mission to find a female which is why they are a lot more active at this time.
  • Cobell Settlement Checks Could Be Mailed By Fall 2014

    Cobell Settlement Checks Could Be Mailed By Fall 2014

    Friday, August 15 2014 9:03 PM EDT2014-08-16 01:03:47 GMT
    The people in charge of doling out money in the Cobell settlement want to put checks in the mail by this fall.
    The people in charge of doling out money in the Cobell settlement want to put checks in the mail by this fall.
  • Seven Arrested in Kalispell Sex Sting

    Seven Arrested in Kalispell Sex Sting

    Friday, August 22 2014 3:10 PM EDT2014-08-22 19:10:39 GMT
    A four-day online sex sting ends with the arrest of seven Flathead men for sexual abuse of children, and more arrests are pending.
    A four-day online sex sting ends with the arrest of seven Flathead men for sexual abuse of children, and more arrests are pending.
  • Fatal Car Accident Near Belt

    Fatal Car Accident Near Belt

    An early morning car accident has taken the life of at one individual just outside of Great Falls.
    An early morning car accident has taken the life of at one individual just outside of Great Falls.
  • Suspect In Nine Mile Falls SWAT Standoff To Make First Court Appearance

    Suspect In Nine Mile Falls SWAT Standoff To Make First Court Appearance

    Monday, May 19 2014 11:50 AM EDT2014-05-19 15:50:48 GMT
    UPDATE: NINE MILE FALLS, Wash. - The man who triggered a SWAT standoff at a home in Nine Mile Falls, 43-year-old Blaze Smith, will make his first appearance in court on Monday. Law enforcement was attempting to recover a stolen vehicle when Smith decided to barricade himself inside a home.
    UPDATE: NINE MILE FALLS, Wash. - The man who triggered a SWAT standoff at a home in Nine Mile Falls, 43-year-old Blaze Smith, will make his first appearance in court on Monday. Law enforcement was attempting to recover a stolen vehicle when Smith decided to barricade himself inside a home.
  • 31-year-old Belt woman killed in accident

    31-year-old Belt woman killed in accident

    The Montana Highway Patrol says a 31-year-old Belt woman has died in a single-vehicle accident.
    The Montana Highway Patrol says a 31-year-old Belt woman has died in a single-vehicle accident.
  • UM Grads Invention Breaks Kickstarter Record

    UM Grads Invention Breaks Kickstarter Record

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 8:10 PM EDT2014-08-28 00:10:54 GMT
    A University of Montana graduate gets national attention, after his invention breaks a record on Kickstarter.com, a popular platform used to fund creative projects.
    A University of Montana graduate gets national attention, after his invention breaks a record on Kickstarter.com, a popular platform used to fund creative projects.
  • Thunderbird Major Jason Curtis Returns to Alma Mater, Flathead High School

    Thunderbird Major Jason Curtis Returns to Alma Mater, Flathead High School

    Saturday, August 30 2014 12:13 PM EDT2014-08-30 16:13:43 GMT
    Friday morning, Flathead High School's own "Flying Ace," Jason Curtis, stepped out of the cockpit to school students on the importance of having dreams and following goals.
    Friday morning, Flathead High School's own "Flying Ace," Jason Curtis, stepped out of the cockpit to school students on the importance of having dreams and following goals.
Powered by WorldNow

Features

  • More Features
  • Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and Cowles Montana Media. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.